Benefits of PECS

03 Feb 2018

BY: speechsolution


In this month’s newsletter, we talk about the benefits of using a picture exchange communication system (PECS). 

PECS is considered a form of augmentative alternative communication or known as AAC. 

Research tells us that children do not developmentally comprehend pictures until after 3 years of age, so you may want to put off PECS as an AAC option until your child is at least 3-years-old. 

Children who benefit from this form of AAC may have autism spectrum disorder or another disorder that affects communication skills. PECS utilizes pictures to effectively communicate wants and needs. For example, if a child wants to request milk, they would point to a picture of milk. This method of communication can help children who are working to develop spoken language skills.  

PECS can be used for short-term or long-term benefits. Speech-language pathologists can choose to implement this in a child’s plan of care to assist in learning verbal speech or to use as a primary mode of communication. The primary goal of PECS is to teach functional communication.

There are 6 phases of PECS:

Phase 1– Learning how to communicate: Individuals learn to exchange pictures for items that they want/need 

Phase 2– Distance and persistence: Using single pictures individuals learn to use this skill in different places with different people 

Phase 3– Picture discrimination: Individuals learn to select 2 or more pictures to request items and a picture communication book is made where pictures can be stored and easily removed 

Phase 4– Sentence structure: Individuals learn to construct simple sentences using an “I want” picture followed by the requested item

Phase 5– Responsive requesting: Learning to use PECS to answer questions 

Phase 6: Individuals are taught to responds to questions using PECS 

For more information on getting started with PECS and whether or not your child is a good candidate for this form of AAC visit 


Speech Solutions